Messy Fun Portraits

Awhile back I took some of what I do with my advertising photography and applied it to a family portrait of my own family.  You might remember that photo here.  Even though that photo is a couple of years old now, it is still one of my most popular photos and something that a lot of people have asked me about.  What have they asked you say?  Well, they asked if I could do something like that for their family.  This left me in a bit of a dilemma.  I am not, or have not been, a “portrait” photographer.  Yeah, I specialise in portraiture, but I specialise in commercial portraiture and I haven’t even thought about doing family portraits.  But, I thought about it for awhile and will be launching a new brand that is devoted to high end family portraiture…more on that sometime soon!


As a result of this decision, I decided it was time to apply this to some other families.  It was going to give me some images for the upcoming portrait brand, but it was also a chance to add to my advertising portfolio as well.  That is what these images are all about after all…creating images that tell a story, make you want to look at, and sell a product.  Just in this instance, the product is the family!  😀  I like to thing of it as advertising for your family.


The Shoot:

For this shoot, I met with a lovely family about two weeks before the shoot.  This meeting to get to know the family, the family dynamics, and come up with an idea and concept that would best represent them in a way that was funny and something they would love forever.  For me, this is almost the most fun part!  I love creating concepts and then visualising them and creating that visualisation through my camera.  We really wanted to create something that showed the family as fun, but would also show that being a family also comes with a little bit of chaos!


I performed the shoot in the same way that I do with a lot of my commercial work.  Each element was photographed individually and then it was all put together later in Photoshop.  I do these photos in this manner for a couple of reasons.  One, it allows me to select the best image of each person to be used in the final photo.  When dealing with a family, and in such a dynamic photo, it is very hard to get everyone perfect at the same time.  It can happen, but it would take quite a few takes and by that point you start to lose the interest of the children.  I have also learned that children really love this style.  It gives them a chance to perform without any added pressure.  They really let loose and give it everything.  Often times I find that the children only take one or two takes because they are so much more into the shoot this way.


The Images:

Part of doing images like this is to create one or two “perfect” images.  It isn’t about creating a couple dozen or a hundred mediocre images.  This has never been something that I have done, and that is mostly down to the commercial work that I do.  That work is always about creating very specific images, and that is the same way that I have approached these family shots.  So, here are the two images we created….


family advertising commercial photography


commercial photographer portrait




These types of shoots are a LOT of fun.  I like to believe that they are a lot of fun for the families as well.  It’s not a typical portrait session for them at all, and I think the fun elements as well as the relaxed shooting style really add to this.  At first I was curious how ordinary families were going to react to this style of shooting.  My family were totally fine with it, they knew how I approached things anyways.  The reactions to it have been overwhelming.  Everyone loves it, and now everyone wants portraits like this.  That is coming, I promise.. mid July to be precise.  But I can’t tell you anymore about that just yet.


Creating conceptual, story telling images has always been my biggest passion with my photography.  I love pushing my mind and abilities to come up with new ideas and then to actually create them.


In the two images, what is your favourite elements?  For me it’s a hard one.  There are a lot of little subtle things going on that only I might notice!  The obvious thing is probably the salad.  His face is perfect and her expression is priceless!


What do you like best?  Leave your response in the comments below, and don’t forget to share it around!